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Committee Chairman Thinks VA Is Hiding Something After Secretary Complains About Subpoena

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller is tired of the Department of Veterans Affairs stonewalling requests for more information on the its scandal-racked regional office in Philadelphia.

With unanimous support, the committee issued a subpoena last Thursday to dig deeper into revelations released last month by the inspector general that the Philadelphia office regularly ignores veterans and incorrectly handles benefits claims. Over 31,000 inquiries went unanswered for an average of 312 days, despite the fact that regulations mandate an answer within five days. Investigators also found unattended date-stamping machines, making it easy for any employee to manipulate wait times undetected.

At least one employee modified benefit forms. Managers knew and did nothing.

It’s still unclear whether any employees will face punishment, as the VA’s internal review will not close until the end of June.

VA secretary Robert McDonald was quick to respond to the latest subpoena request with a letter, saying that the information requested “is not necessary for the Committee’s oversight needs.” Moreover, McDonald stated that the subpoena is confusing because had the committee agreed to basic privacy standards, it would have received all the relevant files by now.

When McDonald took over as secretary from Eric Shinseki last year, Congress was hopeful that the department might turn over a new leaf. Nearly a year later, patience from lawmakers, including 2016 GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, is running thin.

On Friday, Miller fired a response back to McDonald.

“I remind you that neither you nor VA has the constitutional or legal authority to substitute your judgment for what this Committee needs or does not need to conduct an investigation within its jurisdiction,” Miller wrote. While McDonald said he provided 9,000 pages to the committee, numerous pages were completely redacted, “leading any reasonable person to presume that there is something to hide, and not that VA is making an attempt to protect legitimate privacy interests.”

The reason HVAC is so intent on receiving documents is because the VA has a history of providing false and misleading statements to the public.

In one particular example, Miller noted that it simply is not true that the VA has fired 60 people for manipulating wait times, as has been stated previously. Instead, the real number is actually zero.

The back-and-forth dispute is yet another example of the difficulty that HVAC has faced in reining in the VA.

Source


Read more at http://sonsoflibertymedia.com/2015/05/committee-chairman-thinks-va-...
Me Here......So the new Chairman of the VA thinks he is above the oversight of the US House?  It looks that way.  He must have drank the Kool-Aide that has so poisoned the Democrats in Government.
This is just one more reason Congress must drastically re-create the VA.  The current VA is not working in the best interest of our Veterans in so many ways.  I have typed this before, but today's VA, we Veterans are there ONLY to justify the VA's existence.  Our welfare doesn't matter.  This must change.
Senior management must be changed.  Those responsible for these great many outrages must be fired and if the act is criminal, must be arrested, tried, and if convicted, jailed. 
The only solution for the long term is to turn the VA medical system into an insurance system where the Veteran and not the VA determines who gives and where the care is given.

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Comment by SGT William A. Geresy (ret) on May 13, 2015 at 10:26pm

I agree. 

Drastic change is needed!

Comment by Chalice on May 13, 2015 at 10:20pm

We need a new Administration... Fire them all!

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